Unbelieving spouses and blood treatments.

by garyneal 20 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • garyneal

    Sometime back, my wife and I discussed the possibility that I may wind up in a hospital with a condition that would require a blood transfusion to ensure my best chance for survival. I asked her if I was unconscious and could not make the decision myself, what would she do? Her response was something along the lines of, "I will try to get the best treatment you can get." However, she continued to dodge my basic question of, "Would you permit the blood treatment?"

    This, of course, bothers me because I would suspect that most people would be inclined to trust the physician in these cases for their spouse of another loved one. However, it seems like a Jehovah's Witness would rather put more faith in God The Faithful and Discreet Slave than in their physician. Of course, they always fail to see the parallel between this and the Christian Scientists but I digress.

    I was curious, though, who amongst the unbelieving spouses of Jehovah's Witnesses has ever considered this and what if anything have you decided to do in case this kind of situation happens? While I commend my wife for opting for the best care available and I even can see their point in terms of medical risks, I also know that they tend to way overstate such risks while minimizes the benefits of blood treatments.

  • carla

    It is time for you to get your own power of attorney re: your medical care!! do it now! you can find some great ready made templates online that you can tweak according to your wishes, then get it notarized and give copies to trusted family and friends. Obviously your wife cannot be trusted with your very life in this situation. I have a few people listed as the decision makers and second, third choices if they cannot be reached. It sucks that you cannot trust your own spouse to do what is necessary to save your life but that is the reality. Your spouse probably already has signed the 'blood card' and you are not listed as the go to person to make decisions. That is a real kick in the heart the day you discover that complete strangers have the power over you in the event the spouse is in a terrible life and death situation. Sorry, protect your life because your spouse won't.

  • garyneal

    Thanks Carla,

    It will most likely come down to that. I know my wife can be reasonable when I am not dealing with her cult personality. Her problem when it comes to this issue are two fold. First, she believes that the Faithful and Discreet Slave TM has done extensive research on this topic and therefore she does not feel the need to research it herself. Second, she's personally witnessed two incidents where blood was used. In the first instance, her aunt received a blood transfusion and the blood she received was tainted and she contracted hepatitis because of it. The second instance was when her mom have an operation to remove a cancerous tumor from her body and she opted for a completely bloodless procedure and received (according to my wife) the best medical care available.

    So she is clearly biased based on her experiences and the Watchtower doctrines. It is, therefore, hard to expect her to be reasonable on this topic. Still, though, I've pointed out on numerous occasions the hypocrisy of their doctrines on blood and the fact that I would personally rather place my medical care in the hands of trained physicians over the clergy of any church. Her two experiences would pale in comparison to the experiences of doctors who see this first hand on a regular basis.

  • nelly136

    "I will try to get the best treatment you can get." uhoh!

    she continued to dodge my basic question of, "Would you permit the blood treatment?"

    you really need to do what carla says and sort out a representative that can and will follow your wishes.

    and if you've got any children it may be worth sorting theirs out or getting legal advice just in case emergencies ever arise.

  • jgnat

    I am in this situation and I recently completed a Personal Directive for myself. I did not need a lawyer. Here in Alberta, Canada, a template is provided online. Your state may have something similar.

    Consider that my husband has the same fears that I won't respect his wishes. I certainly have no desire to watch him fade away, blue, gasping for oxygen his thinning blood can't provide. I've decided to simply remain silent if he is unconscious in an emergency ward, receiving treatment and transfusions. He can get mad at me later. On the other hand, if he is conscious and aware of his treatment options, I will support his wishes.

  • garyneal

    Thanks Nelly,

    I have a daughter and I've already made my position clear in this regards both here and to my wife. I do, however, know that witnesses can be sneaky. I've asked my wife's elder about this and he told me that there are laws to protect children. Never-the-less, I am planning to at least speak with my daughter's pediatrician about my options. I understand my wife's concern with the possibility of our daughter receiving tainted blood and the truth is, I too would consider any alternatives to blood. However, I cannot allow my child to die if a blood transfusion could save her.


    Excellent, thanks. Do you have any children also? If so, what did you do for them?

  • tec

    Garyneal - I would get that template or its equivalent where you live also. I would NOT trust your wife on this matter - not that she doesn't care, but her idea of best treatment may not be the same as the doctor's idea of best treatment.


  • garyneal


    Thanks, I firmly agree considering their loaded language on the term 'best treatment' when blood is involved. All of their magazines tout the bloodless therapies as the 'best treatment' when it comes to operations and other medical procedures that may require the use of blood.

    I may try to discuss this again with her just to see where she is on it, but I will consider other options as well and will actually encourage her to do the same from her perspective. Does anyone know what the laws may be in the state of Virginia in the United States?

  • jgnat

    Garyneal, if I had dependent children, I would not have married a Witness! I figure at my age I can afford a little foolishness. I've been able to sidestep any parenting questions.

    I would suggest you keep those communication lines open; get your wife to talk about these tough topics. To stay in the Witnesses, I figure, there has to be a fairly high level of denial going on. So approach it gently. I recently reminded my hubby he has a tough decision to make, and I asked if giving him a week to think about it would be fair? I'll have to remember to bring it up again, otherwise he will drop it.

    I think the medical profession, faced with warring parents, would do their best to follow the best medical care available. They may privately find out what the child's wishes are. I think this is what the elder is suggesting. They are quite happy to play the "martyr", playing the protest, while allowing the medical profession to do what it has to do. I find this double standard of the Witnesses as quite repellant. For instance, in 2007 a young couple delivered sextuplets in Vancouver. Two died shortly after birth, and the remaining four were temporarily apprehended by the government to receive blood transfusions. The parents fought for their rights to refuse this health care for their children.

    Why not drop the pretense that blood is bad for you?

  • jgnat

Share this